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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Where Southwestern Pennsylvania's U.S. congressmen stand on DACA

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Young Pittsburgh immigrants and Dreamers march in a protest in February - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Young Pittsburgh immigrants and Dreamers march in a protest in February
President Donald Trump has already rolled back several Obama-era rules in his short term, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program seems to be next on the chopping block. Several large media organizations have reported Trump will likely end the program that provides work visas and safety from deportation to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as young children. Several Republican lawmakers have been requesting it for years. In fact, 10 Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to Trump requesting that he rescind DACA by Sept. 5, or they will challenge the order in court. (It should be noted that 20 Democrats and state attorneys general, including Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro, signed a letter to Trump in support of maintaining DACA.)

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Local environmentalist John Stolz throws hat into 12th District race against Rep. Keith Rothfus

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 12:33 PM

  • Photo courtesy of campaign
  • John Stolz
Last month, Duquesne University professor and director of Duquesne’s Center for Environmental Research and Education John Stolz officially launched his campaign for Pennsylvania’s 12th U.S. House district; he is the fourth official candidate to challenge incumbent Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley). The other candidates, all Democrats, are Aaron Anthony (from Shaler), Tom Prigg (McCandless) and Elizabeth Tarasi (Sewickley).

Stolz, a Democrat from Shaler, is an expert on the effects of natural-gas drilling, or fracking, in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He says he believes his environmental background is key to representing the district, and believes a focus on green energy can lead to what the 12th District needs most: jobs. (While the 12th-district unemployment rate is on par with the state average of 5.4 percent, in many towns the figure is higher, including Ambridge, at 6.4 percent, and Johnstown, at about 8 percent.)

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pennsylvania politicians sound off on Trump’s latest Charlottesville comments, others silent

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM

  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Bob Casey
On Aug. 15, President Donald Trump backtracked on earlier statements solely condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis for violence in the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump's initial statement on Aug. 12 blamed "many sides" for the violence. Then on Aug. 14, Trump said, “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

But, during the Aug. 15 press event at Trump Tower in New York City, where the president was scheduled to discuss infrastructure, Trump instead attacked the “alt-left” and assigned just as much, if not more, blame to the counter-protesters.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you so say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt? … You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” said Trump.

In response to Trump’s latest comments, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Scranton) condemned Trump for trying to compare the actions of hate groups to the actions of counter-protesters. Casey was in Pittsburgh on Aug. 16 to discuss trade at the Steelworkers Building Downtown and spoke with reporters about Trump’s comments.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Southwestern Pennsylvania Republicans are taking heat for condemning neo-Nazis

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 6:33 PM

The top comment responding to TIm Murphy's post condemning white supremacy is critical of that view. - IMAGE COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
  • Image courtesy of Facebook
  • The top comment responding to TIm Murphy's post condemning white supremacy is critical of that view.
The Aug. 12 death of Heather Heyer and injuries to several counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va. following a gathering of Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists has caused a political firestorm. A car, allegedly driven by James Fields, an Ohio man with ties to neo-Nazi groups, drove into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed Heyer. Before the death, white-nationalist protesters and counter-protesters, including members of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, an anti-fascist group, clashed and beat each other with flagpoles and clubs, but it's unclear what or who instigated the brawl.

After the dust had settled, President Donald Trump made a statement on Aug. 12 from his golf club in New Jersey and said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time.”

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Friday, August 11, 2017

FairDistricts PA will fight gerrymandering with week of educational events and campaign for voting reform

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 5:35 PM

This map shows the 2012 redistricting of Senate District 28 - © 2012 GOOGLE
  • © 2012 Google
  • This map shows the 2012 redistricting of Senate District 28
According to a report released in May, Pennsylvania is among the three worst gerrymandered states in the country. And others say Pennsylvania is the most gerrymandered it has ever been.

But what is gerrymandering, and how does it impact elections and local politics? Next week, local organizers will attempt to answer these questions and more with a series of events around the city.

"Gerrymandering is a little complicated, a little wonky," says Kitsy McNulty, coordinator of the Pittsburgh Local Group of FairDistricts PA. But essentially the term refers to the practice of manipulating voting-district boundaries in order to benefit a particular political party or candidate.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle weighs in on RAISE Act’s potential effect on Pittsburgh

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Mike Doyle
  • Mike Doyle
From 2010 to 2016, the Pittsburgh metro area saw a negative net migration of about 12,000 native-born residents. This means that about 12,000 more American-born people left the region than arrived here over those six years. In this same time span, the region saw a positive international migration of more than 22,000 people. The region still saw a lot more deaths than births and lost overall population, but in short, immigrants have been propping up the Pittsburgh metro area population.

But on Aug. 2, President Donald Trump held a press conference where he gave support to the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which seeks to cut legal immigration up to 50 percent and give priorities to English-speaking immigrants, among other reforms. The bill was introduced by co-sponsors U.S. senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and David Perdue (R-Georgia).

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills), whose district encompasses Pittsburgh, McKeesport and New Kensington, says this bill goes against what Pittsburgh and the region are trying to accomplish. He says he wants people to move here, regardless of what country they were born in.

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